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Sick terror tour is a glorification of evil

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 02/06/2016

The funeral of Michael McGibbon who was shot in the Elmfield Street area of Ardoyne, close to the home he shared with his wife Joanne
The funeral of Michael McGibbon who was shot in the Elmfield Street area of Ardoyne, close to the home he shared with his wife Joanne

Not content with continuing to wage a campaign of violence that is anathema to all right-thinking people in Northern Ireland, dissident republicans are now planning to dance on the graves of their victims by organising "an unapologetic and unrepentant" terror tour of republican sites in west Belfast glorifying the horrors of the past.

Not only is this aimed at gullible and unknowing visitors, but is also trying to tempt local people and youth groups to become involved in what will be an unreconstructed and totally unrepresentative analysis of republican activity during the darkest days of the Troubles from which we have recently, and painstakingly, emerged.

It is essentially a visit to the past into which the dissidents are so desperately trying to drag this community.

These are the people who, as pictures from last weekend revealed, are not above dressing up a child in paramilitary uniform during an illegal parade in Lurgan, which was also watched by a young girl in her First Communion dress.

Commentator Jude Collins' comparison of the child in the camouflage outfit to members of the Christian Boys' Brigade organisation was contemptible. The dissidents are attempting to poison the minds of all who will listen to their vitriolic rants against a supposed "enemy" - British imperialism - that no one on this island any longer recognises.

Joanne McGibbon, whose husband Michael was left to bleed to death in an Ardoyne alleyway after being shot in the legs by dissidents in April, is right to label the proposed tour as "disgusting". She knows the reality of what dissident republicanism stands for, and it is certainly a long way from the green-tinted rhetoric the so-called tour guides will be spouting to anyone senseless enough to engage with them.

The truth about dissident republicans is not to be found on some gable wall, but in the tear-stained faces of Michael McGibbon's bereft widow and his four children as they struggle to come to terms with the loss of their husband and father.

The truth will also be found in the homes of other victims of the dissidents like prison officer Adrian Ismay, or Constables Ronan Kerr and Stephen Carroll, or the two soldiers shot dead at Massereene near Antrim, or the relatives of the 29 people killed in Omagh.

But we won't hear that truth from the dissidents.

Belfast Telegraph

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